Businesses that stay open on weekends reduce down time, and the growing practice is seen as a means of making better use of capital. A new study from Canada casts doubt on the ergonomic value of weekend work, and suggests that abandoning the 9-5 workweek may not make sound business sense either.
According to the research released on June 14 by the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, only 62 per cent of Canadians work from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. Nearly 20 per cent of Canadians work weekends, mostly in the service sector and in part-time, temporary or seasonal jobs. And because more women work in this sector, most weekend workers are female.
The percentage of weekend workers increased from 11 to 18.5 between 1991 and 1999.
Consumers benefit from weekend access to businesses, but it’s doubtful that businesses receive all the benefits they imagine.
Workers pay the price, according to the researchers. The cost to them can be increased stress, physical and mental health problems and ultimately decreased productivity at work.
“Weekend workers are employed at a time when most others, including their family and friends are resting or socializing,” explains Isik Zeytinoglu, professor of human resources at DeGroote. “It is an unsocial schedule that is disruptive to people’s leisure and family time.”
She argues that an active social life outside of the workplace and a healthy work environment, as well as meaningful employment and economic stability, are important components of overall health and well being.
The study is included in the book Decent Working Time: New Trends, New Issues launched this week in Geneva at the Conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Source: McMaster University